One Child’s Traumatic Experience Serves As A Cautionary Tale

All children deserve to be raised in a safe and secure environment, with their values and cultural traditions respected.

When parents are not able to care for them, children often enter the foster care system which causes significant adjustment and trauma.

But a recent case out of the UK shows the harmful effects of a child being improperly placed and the damage wrought by a broken system – and it also serves as a cautionary tale.

In Tower Hamlets, a London borough with a large Muslim population, a five-year-old white girl who was being raised as a Christian was ordered to live with Muslim foster parents who forced her to adapt to their cultural practices.

The child was ordered into the care of these foster parents over the objections of her family, including her grandmother who offered to take custody.

The child was noted as being very distressed over the situation when a local social worker made a routine visit and reported she was made to learn Arabic, told that Christian women are “stupid and alcoholics,” and that a necklace with a crucifix she was wearing had been removed and taken by her caregivers.

Activist Mom reported:

“This is a five-year-old white girl. She was born in this country, speaks English as her first language, loves football, holds a British passport and was christened in a church,” said a friend of the family.

“She’s already suffered the huge trauma of being forcibly separated from her family. She needs surroundings in which she’ll feel secure and loved. Instead, she’s trapped in a world where everything feels foreign and unfamiliar. That’s really scary for a young child.”

It is unclear why the child’s background was not more carefully examined so that she could be matched with a family holding similar values, or at least who spoke the same language.

This disturbing case has uncovered a largely broken foster care system in the UK. The boroughs of London are highly populated and experience large numbers of displaced children.

The system in the UK appears to be experiencing a downward spiral, and the most vulnerable are being placed in situations of culture shock or outright danger.

Although potential caregivers are supposed to be thoroughly scrutinized, often caregivers who were “rejected” as appropriate foster parents are placed with children because there are simply too many in the system.

The Sun reported:

The system is under unprecedented pressure. The combined ­effect of the recession (which triggered higher levels of family breakdown) and scandal mean that more ­children are being taken into care. At the same time fewer candidates are coming forward to ­volunteer as foster parents – making it harder to find suitable foster placements for the children they are presented with. For the moment they are ­coping, but soon there could be a dangerous mismatch between carers and children.

“You go for what’s realistically available without forgetting culture,” a spokeswoman explains. “Parents want to be reassured that their child will be fed kosher food, that their conservative style of dress will be matched, that ­dietary considerations will be matched, that they will be exposed to Islamic culture, for example, as much as possible. Obviously, we don’t have the luxury of having all this ­diversity of foster care available. We have to be creative with the limited resources we have.”

It certainly does not appear that any consideration was given to this young girl’s culture and background, nor any concern for the outcome.

The borough of Tower Hamlets is now under fire for the trauma caused to this young girl, and many are questioning how many other children have been put in similar situations.

A former Muslim mayor and members of the borough council are currently under investigation for corruption and fraud, and for being linked to Islamist groups, as well as having “undue spiritual influence” over their community.

Part of the investigation centers around whether these caregivers received preferential treatment in order to receive a foster care allowance to care for the young girl.

The Guardian reported:

The head of one fostering charity says it is “no secret” that fostering is one of the few reliable ways to earn a living if you have no qualifications and you want to work at home; between 30% and 40% of foster carers have no educational qualifications.

“You can’t defend the practice. Things were definitely missed. But it’s about putting that in the context of an extremely pressurised borough, with difficult politics and overloaded social workers who are not able to evaluate on a regular basis. There is a massive overestimation of what social workers can achieve, given the resources and quality of staff.”

The borough’s Director of Children’s Services defended the council’s decision to place the young Christian girl with an Arabic speaking Muslim family, telling The Sun:

“While cultural background is always a significant consideration in making this decision, so too are other factors including remaining in the local area to promote contact with the child’s family and for the child to continue at the same school in order to give them as much stability as possible.”

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Following an outcry by family members and the public due to media coverage of the case, a hearing was called to determine the best course of action.

Judge Khatun Sapnara ordered an immediate investigation of the council’s decision and determined that the child should be placed with her grandmother, as was requested to begin with.

The judge stated, “I am concerned at these reports. A child’s religious, racial and cultural background should be taken into consideration when they are placed with foster carers.”

This case should also serve as a warning to the U.S. as an example of how an overburdened system can harm those it was designed to protect.

Half a million children are in foster care in the U.S., a significant spike over the last twenty years, and like the UK, capable and nurturing families are difficult to come by compared to the vast amount of children needing care.

And while traditional American values continue to fall prey to the attacks of the liberal left, we must pay careful attention so this situation is not repeated with another child being forced to abandon their values and beliefs.

Above all, agencies and caregivers must put the needs of the child first. For a child living in an unfamiliar environment, every precaution must be taken to allow the child to live with those who practice the same values and traditions and speak the same language.

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